Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Requiem for a Dream (2000)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

In Darren Aronofsky's unforgettable anti-drug cautionary tale (NC-17 rated) and psychological drama-thriller, with inventive, rapid and stylistic jump cuts, split screens, extreme closeups, assaultive audio, time-lapse sequencing, and distorted images:

  • the opening credits - composed of short snippets of a TV game show titled "Tappy Tibbon's Month of Fury," hosted by Tappy Tibbons (Christopher McDonald)
  • the introduction of crazed, TV-addicted, lonely, elderly widow Sara Goldfarb (Oscar-nominated Ellen Burstyn) living in a Brighton Beach high-rise apartment near Coney Island; on a summer day, her heroin-addicted only child, son Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), stole her TV set (for the umpteenth time) and pawned it with Mr. Rabinowitz (Mark Margolis) for money to buy drugs
Harry (and Tyrone) Stealing His Mother Sara's TV Set
To Be Pawned For Drug Money
  • Sara began to lose touch with reality after being solicited by a phone telemarketer to appear on her favorite self-help game show "Tappy Tibbon's Month of Fury"; - she immediately fantasized wearing her favorite, slim-fitting red dress she wore to Harry's HS graduation (when her husband Seymour was alive); after she was unable to fit into the dress, she died her hair (reddish-orange), went on a crash diet of eggs and grapefruit (without red meat or refined sugar) to drastically lose weight; shortly later, she received an application packet in the mail (for the TV show) and with the aid of her neighbors filled it out
  • the character of Harry's pill-popping, drug-using girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), whose wealthy parents had given her money but lacked affection (she feared they would cut off her funding) - Harry fueled her interest in opening up a store with her own clothing design business, and complimented her on her beauty: ("I always thought you are the most beautiful girl I've ever seen"); she confessed it was the first believable words she had ever heard about herself: "Other people have told me that before and it was meaningless"
  • the repeated quick-cutting of multiple intensely-close-up images in the film whenever one of the principal characters (in this instance, Marion) shot up, consumed or snorted drugs: (below)
One Example of a Montage of Drug-Use
  • another recurring set of images: after shooting up in ghetto-living Tyrone C. Love's (Marlon Wayans) apartment, Harry experienced a fantasy of walking alone (and then running) to the end of a pier toward his girlfriend Marion (in a red dress) who turned to him and smiled
Harry's Recurring Pier Fantasy
  • the sequence of junkie Harry and his friend Tyrone unrealistically planning on a 'business' future of becoming rich heroin drug dealers: "This is our chance to make it big. We play it right an' we can get a pound of pure, but if we get wasted, we'll f--k it up" - they got high anyway after Tyrone argued: "All I'm sayin' is we should take a little taste so we know how much to cut. It's business"; they began to score big ("We're on our way, baby"), but theiir addictions eventually would ruin their profits
  • the sequence of Sara's increasingly delusional life - she glanced at her refrigerator (the object of her derision) and imagined it stocked with forbidden foods; at night while heavily sweating and insomniac, she fantasized sugary foods flying at her; to lose 50 lbs. of weight, she began a regimen of addictive, amphetamine weight-loss diet pills ('speed' prescribed by an unscrupulous doctor), causing her to be frenetically active and to sweat profusely
  • the scene of Sara's split-screen description of her 4-meal pill diet, addressed to her refrigerator: "Purple in the morning, blue in the afternoon, orange in the evening. That's my three meals, Mr. Smarty Pants. And green at night. Just like that. One, two, three, four"
  • the dramatic scene of Sara's discussion with Harry (who gave her the gift of a new TV and then was surprisingly concerned about her addiction to uppers!); she told him about her sad feelings regarding getting old and feeling lonely and useless, but suddenly had become enlivened by the loss of weight and her upcoming appearance on the TV game show - she was momentarily happy about the opportunity to wear her red dress - her deceased husband's favorite: "I'm going to be on television. I got a call and an application...I'm going to be a contestant on television....I'm somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me. Soon, millions of people will see me and they'll all like me. I'll tell them about you, and your father, how good he was to us. Remember? It's a reason to get up in the morning. It's a reason to lose weight, to fit in the red dress. It's a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right. What have I got Harry, hmm? Why should I even make the bed, or wash the dishes? I do them, but why should I? I'm alone. Your father's gone, you're gone. I got no one to care for. What have I got, Harry? I'm lonely. I'm old. (Harry: "You got friends, Ma") Ah, it's not the same. They don't need me. I like the way I feel. I like thinking about the red dress and the television and you and your father. Now when I get the sun, I smile"
  • after Tyrone was jailed for a violent drug deal and then bailed out by Harry, their funds were depleted; the despairing Harry begged Marion to use her body to score some money - calling it "our last chance to get back on track...we need the bread...we'll be back in business in no time. We'll start movin' again and we'll start savin'. It'll be perfect. Just like it was. I promise, Marion. You'll see" - he suggested that she prostitute herself with her therapeutic psychiatrist Arnold (Sean Gullette) to pay their bills
  • in the next scene set in a restaurant, she met with Arnold and bluntly asked for money in exchange for sex: "Actually, I have a favor to ask....I need to borrow some money." [Note: in her mind, when sleazebag Arnold reached out at the table and stroked her hand, she imagined stabbing him with her fork and crying out: "You smug f--k!"] In his apartment before sex, she requested: "Could you turn the light off?"; afterwards, she vomited outside, and it virtually ended the trust and love in her relationship with Harry
Harry Assuring Marion: "It'll be perfect. Just like it was"
At Dinner, Marion to Arnold: "I have a favor to ask"
Marion to Arnold Before Sex: "Could you turn the light off?"
  • the scenes of Sara's increasing addiction to weight-loss measures (including overdosing), causing severe physical side-effects, and her acute obsession with being on the show eventually led to non-stop hallucinations and near insanity; in the film's central most important sequence, she imagined that she was the winner of the TV game show (with holograms of the host and his red-dressed companion appearing in her apartment); the walls ripped apart, revealing that her entire apartment had become the TV studio set with a live TV audience; the host and his female companion danced and paraded around her reclining chair, while everyone began chanting "Feed me Sara, Feed me Sara"; as the scene climaxed, her carnivorous refrigerator had broken free from the wall, opened its gigantic 'maw' and attacked her; afterwards, she visited the casting agency office in Manhattan where she was pronounced insane, taken away in an ambulance, and admitted to a psychiatric ward
  • to find a supply of drugs that were less expensive and had become scarce, Harry and Tyrone drove south to Miami, Florida, but due to heroin-hooked Harry's frequent intravenous injections, his arm had become severely and painfully-infected with gangrene; he and Tyrone were arrested and thrown in jail for possession
  • as the film progressed toward its inevitable conclusion, the scenes intercut from one devastating and desperate situation to another for the four major characters; in the unrated (originally rated NC-17) film's tense and final 20 minutes (assembled in a quick-cutting montage), a visual representation was given of how lives were utterly shattered and affected by diet pills and stronger drugs; each of the shots were shortened and then presented in an intensely-rapid pace along with a memorable soundtrack
  • (1) in NY, drug-addicted Marion - desperate for heroin - prostituted herself to black pimp Big Tim (Keith David) who told her: "What I like best about party chicks is they give good head"; he opened his pants before she performed oral sex: "I know it's pretty, baby, but I didn't take it out for air"; afterwards in her apartment, she submerged her head underwater in a bathtub and screamed; (2) Marion received a phone call from Harry in Florida who falsely promised to come home right away: ("I'll come today, Just wait for me, alright...I'm coming back, Marion"), and then apologized ("I'm sorry, Marion"); (3) both Tyrone and Harry were arrested for drug possession and jailed; when separated from Harry, Tyrone served jail-time and suffered racist treatment by guards; (4) in a harrowing scene in a psychiatric ward, Sara was subjected to intense electro-shock therapy treatment; (5) Marion was compelled to return to Big Tim to raise money to support her addiction (see below); (6) Harry was hospitalized and his left arm was bloodily amputated - with blood spurting onto his face from the saw; Harry woke up to the reality of his situation after the operation: (Nurse: "It's alright. Don't worry, you're in a hospital"), however, he had hoped, in a fantasy dream, that Marion was waiting for him at the end of a long pier, but she disappeared - and he stepped back and fell off a tall building in the fantasy
Harry's Infected (and Amputated Arm) and Unfulfilled Fantasy of Marion
  • in a shocking and controversial sequence (an extremely nasty, decadent, and extremely-graphic lesbian orgy scene), Marion returned to Big Tim a second time to raise money to support her addiction, including a degrading scene in front of businessmen; during a Sunday evening stag party hosted by Big Tim, Marion again prostituted herself; when her partner asked: "So what are we gonna do now?" - (thinking of ways to increase their earnings in front of the frenzied crowd of party animals throwing bills at them), they decided to go "ass-to-ass" by sharing a two-headed anal dildo; the group of spectators went crazy, tossed money at them, and shouted: "Ass-to-ass!" and "Come! Come! Come!"
  • as the film concluded, Harry (in the hospital), Marion (in her apartment), Tyrone (in jail) and Sara (in a mental institution) were all curled up in fetal positions
  • in the film's final moments, Sara was brain dead from the electro-shock treatments and fell asleep, fantasizing that she had won the grand prize on the TV show: (Host: "Our next winner is that delightful personality, straight from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Please, give a juicy welcome to Mrs. Sara Goldfarb. (applause) I'm delighted to tell you that you have just won the grand prize! Your prize has a sweet smile, and his own private business. He just got engaged, and is about to get married this summer. Will you please give a warm and juicy welcome - Harry Goldfarb!"); after Harry emerged on stage as the audience chanted: "Juice by Harry!", he hugged his mother and they exchanged vows of love

Opening Credits: TV Game Show

Sara's Brighton Beach Apt. Neighbors

Candy- and TV-Addicted Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn)

Sara Fantasizing About Wearing Red Dress - Harry's HS Graduation Photo

Marion (Jennifer Connelly)

Marion Complimented on Her Beauty by Harry

Marion Getting High

Sara's Refrigerator Hallucination

Sara's Description of Her 4-Pill Regimen

Sara to Harry: "I'm somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me"

Sara's Major Drug-Induced Hallucination: "Feed me, Sara!"

Marion Prostituted Herself to Big Tim (Keith David) for a Drug Score

Afterwards, Marion Screamed Underwater in a Bathtub

Sara's Electro-shock Therapy

Four Fetal Positions

Sara's Final Hallucinatory Fantasy


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